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7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope

28 February - 6 March 2014

Ukraine History

A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels

With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidans three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countrys stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.


Ukraine Today
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.


Ukrainian Culture

When Walls Can Talk

People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.


Ukraine Travel

May-Day, May-Day! Weve got Holidays Ahead! Easy Excursion s outside Kyiv

May Days are fast approaching bringing with them an extra long weekend. What to do? Get out of the city! To make the decision process a little bit easier, weve compiled a list of a few fascinating destinations that wont take you too far out of the city centre but far enough to feel like you have had a proper break.

Kaniv is a beautiful town situated not too far from Cherkassy. Its a couple hours south of Kyiv and its very popular among the tourists mainly because of the burial site (aptly named Tarasova Mountain) of the great Ukrainian poet and artist Taras Shevchenko. The mountain as well as the surrounding area make the region a national reserve and a museum (also built in his honour) allows not only for a nice afternoon exploring the life of Shevchenko but also for great observation points to look out across the grand Dnipro. Getting to the top of the mountain takes about an hour on foot which the locals advise so that as you walk, you can admire the reserves unique natural surroundings. However, if youre feeling as though you ate a bit too much Paskha from the holiday before, there is the option of taking the bus. Kaniv itself is a small town with narrow streets, full of souvenir shops and street cafes where you can chill out after your exertions. And getting there isnt a problem as buses leave several times a day, everyday, from the central bus station. Or if you prefer, there is the option of taking a boat along the river but you have to make sure you get to bed at a decent hour the night before to be up early enough to make it to the River Station on time.

Uman is one of the biggest towns in the Cherkassy region, and its worth seeing because of its famous Sofiyivka Dendropark. 155 hectares in size and planted by a rich Polish aristocrat at the end of the 18th century in honor of his wife Sofia, when you visit this huge park, a veritable museum of nature, you will certainly feel as though youve stepped into a fairy tale. Or, perhaps a poem by Ovid, as the central theme of the park was inspired by Greek and Roman architectural motifs and the grounds are scattered with classical-style statues and temples. The landscape is surely a monument to the art of the gardener and its definitely worth spending at least a day walking around the park or taking a boat along its meandering waterways and lagoons. The easiest way to get to Uman is by bus as the local bus station is open 24/7.

Mohyliv-Podilskyi can be found in the Vinnytsia region on the Ukrainian-Moldovan border. On one side its flanked by mountains and on the other, by the Dniester River (the close river; not to be confused with the Dnieper which means the river on the far side). Why go to MP? There are numerous, historical points of interest like the Nikolaiyvsky Cathedral, the Church of Alexander Nevsky and the unique 11th century Stone Monastery in the village of Lyadova which is situated in the nearby mountains still inhabited by Monks. One peculiarity of the town is a local park in which a monument to John Lennon is situated who would have thought? MP is also famous for its paragliding, hosting the Ukrainian championship in that very sport. So, considered one of the most beautiful cities in Ukraines southwest, whether you take the bus or the rain, Mohyliv-Podilskyi is suitable both for sightseeing and extreme sports stuff.

Chernihivs architectural monuments chronicle two flourishing periods in the citys history that of the Kyivan Rus (in the 11th and 12th centuries) and the Cossack Hetmanate (the late 17th and early 18th centuries) comprising a large number of ancient churches to see from each period. If youre up for a tour, start with the oldest church in the whole of Ukraine; the five-domed Savior Cathedral, commissioned in the early 1030s. The Cathedral of Saints Boris and Gleb should be next, followed by the crowning achievement of the Chernihiv master builders - the exquisite Church of St. Paraskeba, while the Catherine Church should finish off your circuit. But that doesnt mean your day is finished. Pay a visit to former Cossack homes and mansions such as the Lyzohub and Polubutok residences or the Mazepa House; and one of the most profusely decorated Cossack structures is undoubtedly the ecclesiastical Collegium. This ancient city is sure to be a haven for sightseers and is perfect as a May-Day holiday option. To get there, the best variant is to take an electric train (leaving 4 times/day from Kyiv) or a bus and go relax in this calm, park-like town.

Novhorod-Siverskyi is one of the most ancient towns in Ukraine and is a memorial in itself. One of the greatest works of early Eastern Slavic literature, the Tale of Ihors Campaign, has its roots here. The main point of interest in this place is the former residence of the Chernihiv metropolitans; the monastery of the Transfiguration of the Saviour. It features a ponderous neo-classical cathedral (179196, designed by Giacomo Quarenghi), 17th-century stone walls, and several ecclesiastic foundations, dating from the 16th century. Other landmarks include the Cossack Baroque Assumption cathedral, a triumphal arch, and the wooden church of St. Nicholas. The town itself is situated on the bank of the Desna River, 330 km from the capital and 45 km south of the Russian border. Its aslo near the Kyiv-Moscow auto route so its not a big problem to get there either by train or bus. Or, travel via Chernihiv if you want to stretch out your trip.

Kachanivka is a wonderful attraction in the Chernihivsky region. Its located near the village of Parafievka on the banks of the Smosh River, and the reason to go? Because it was home to nobility. The estate of the old aristocratic Tarnovsky family is situated there, dating back to the 18th century. While it has been used for many things over the years, including a hospital in the Soviet era, in 2001, President Kuchma gave the park the status of a national heritage site, so its now a big museum. The estate features a huge palace, a beautiful park, a church, and a cascade of 12 ponds and lakes dotted around a number of smaller summerhouses. As any upper-class family is only as worthy as who the people they know, there have been many notable names in history invited to the grand estate at one time or another: Repin, Hlynka, Gogol. Taras Shevchenko is another who visited the grounds and would later praise the marvellous scenery in verse and then be beautifully painted by the artist Vasiliy Shternberg. You yourself can feel a bit like a Tsarist nobleman riding a bicycle, fishing, drawing, writing, or just wandering around the gorgeous grounds. Getting to Kachanivka, which is about 250 km from Kyiv, is no problem. It can easily be reached by car, or you can inquire at various travel agencies as they offer excursions to the reserve with transfers. The total travel time is about three hours and if you need or want, you can stay over in a small motel, which usually costs about 40hrv/night.

Neil Campbell

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Comments (2)
You are not authorized! Only registered and authorized users can add their comments!
the observing student | 08.05.2009 17:45


Well, if you're a foreigner, the best thing would be to :

1. check out the place u want to visit on the map first (to get your bearing)

2. get someone to translate the name of the place you'd like to visit into written russian/ukrainian.

3. go to the train station information counter..give that piece of paper with the name of the place written and write down the dates/time you'd like. Then they(train station counter clerk) will write the dates/time/price that is available for you on the same sheet of paper. I've tried it before and it really works.

4. If you're still stuck, try your luck talking to the young ukrainians in english..you'll be suprised that quite a number of them can speak really good english..and bingo..they'll be ever ready to help you as well as practise their english :p

P.s: getting to the train station(vokzal) is the easiest..just jump into the underground system (metro) and look out for Metro Vokzal! It's easy.

the bus station (avto vokzal) is in another part of kiev..hop into bus #548 (from kreshatik) or #17(from metro shulavska or metro lybidska) and look out for one big McDonald's...you won't miss it coz tons of ppl will be getting down here and the traffic is super bad around this bus station coz of the massive roadworks..just be alert and you'd definitely hear someone say 'avtovokzal'..or ask someone in the bus!

bob | 01.05.2009 03:53


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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didnt Know We Had

    Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they dont understand the meaning of these words.

    Kyiv Culture

    Pulling Strings
    Located on Hrushevskoho Street the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades childrens favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. Whats On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.


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